Welcome back. This was never a huge topic for me to discuss, mostly because I feel as though this is a topic with a one sentence answer; it’s very difficult to make it into a post. However, after my last post, I got a lot of backlash, all from black people. Statements like “You’re reaching” or “It’s not important” reached me, and kind of, in a way, urged me to discuss this topic. The fact that some black people literally don’t care about their own history and how it affects them in life is beyond me, leading me to write this post. I am completely sure that their choice of ignorance was taught by their parents, and I am also certain that they will pass it on to their children as well. Here is why you are actually ruining your child’s life, and maybe how to teach them subtly without scaring them, while still teaching them how to love themselves.
Why do parents prefer not to talk to their children about racial issues? or rather, prefer not to involve their children with all of that? The answer is very simple. Most parents who prefer to raise their children to be blind of their own race and what it means for them have faced enormous trauma growing up; trauma inflicted on them because of the colour of their skin. So as a result of this, they attempt to shelter their children from issues of those sorts, because ninety-nine percent of the time, parents want the best for their children; no parent wants their child to suffer the way they did because of something they can not control. Now, this may be done out of pure love and concern, but this approach is very backhanded and damaging to these children for specific reasons.
I am going to say something that might shock a handful of you – most of the overseas black people you see roaming the streets, to your black friend at work, have or will experience racism at some point in their life, whether it be directly, like being called a n****r, or indirectly, like losing a job offer to a less qualified white person. Even in places where the majority of people are in fact black, like Nigeria for example, the individuals with a lighter skin tone or white individuals are more likely to get higher paying jobs, live more comfortable lives and just generally have better opportunities. But let’s get to the point. Why is sheltering your children from the reality of all this so damaging? I’ll tell you why. Most black children that are taught not to see colour or to ignore the blatant racism around them tend to grow up living in a world of denial. A world where they turn their backs to their gory history and prefer to act like it doesn’t affect their day-to-day lives, from the way they are addressed, to they way interact. These children are then faced with racism; racism so alien to them that they try their best to make it pass in their head as just another interaction. Knowing fully well that they have now experienced true racism for the first time, they do everything in their power to prove to themselves that racism does not exist anymore. They rebrand themselves; change themselves to please the average racist white or non-black person. They stop doing “black people things” in an attempt to be able to say “nobody is racist, they just appreciate good behaviour”. They become friends with the white or non-black people who use the term “I have a black friend” to prove they are not racist. They refrain from making anything about race (even though it clearly is) to keep the people around them comfortable. They say things like “slavery ended a long time, get over yourselves” or “this isn’t that big of a deal”. They surround themselves with white or non-black people intentionally, because they do not want to hear the truth. They start to lose sight of who they are while trying to prove to themselves that some people can’t just hate them because of how much melanin they have in their skin. They start to hate their skin tone and all that comes with it. That is why you see black people who don’t care if a white or non-black person uses the N word on them or other black people. They so badly want to believe that racism is over, when really, it might never be. The cycle then continues as they pass this on to their children and so on.
So, as you can see, bringing up your children not to see colour or not to care about racial issues does the opposite of what it was intended to do in the first place. So, how then are you going to be able to make your children prepared for what is out there, while teaching them to love themselves? The answer is: do just that. Make them aware of the fact that racism is still ongoing, but also tell them that their lives are precious. Let them know that they are not the problem; the racist people are. Let them know that they need to love themselves, because the world is a gruesome place where people will hate you for something you cannot control, like your skin colour. Do not teach them not to acknowledge their difference; rather, let them know that they are different, and difference makes them beautiful, but also that their difference might make some things in life difficult. However, also teach them to fight against the odds and not forget who they are. Dont scare them by telling them that they will always be seen as lesser than their white or non-black counterparts, but remind them that sometimes people are too ignorant to look past their difference. Dont teach them not to care; teach them how to acknowledge and fight for themselves regardless.
Any burning questions? leave a comment down below! give this a like if you enjoyed it! Thank you for reading.